Sam Nhlengethwa was born in the black township community of Payneville near Springs (a satellite mining town east of Johannesburg), in 1955 and grew up in Ratanda location in nearby Heidelberg. In the 1980s, he moved to Johannesburg where he honed his practice at the renowned Johannesburg Art Foundation under its founder Bill Ainslie.
Nhlengethwa is one of the founders of the legendary Bag Factory in Newtown, in the heart of the city, where he used to share studio space with fellow greats of this pioneering generation of South African artists, such as David Koloane and Pat Mautloa.
“I paint what I like. I paint what I see around me. To me, interaction with one’s surroundings is important. I connect with my surroundings and they impact what I produce. I live in Johannesburg. It is a vibrant city. Every day there are gems to feed the eyes. It deserves to be appreciated and documented.”